University of Illinois


Liaison Committee on Medical Education

Goals and Objectives

Core Clerkship Goals and Objectives
Family Medicine

        Family Medicine

This Family Medicine clerkship has been designed to increase students’ ability to:

  1. Provide comprehensive patient care with a family and community perspective, as evidenced by:
    • Exploring each patient’s illness experience, including their ideas, feelings, and fears, while conducting a history
    • Attentiveness to both spoken and unspoken “cues” from the patient
    • Exploring family, community and cultural factors that may be influencing a patient’s illness experience, e.g., financial issues, health care beliefs
    • Developing collaborative management plans that reflect awareness of patient, family, and cultural factors that are likely to influence success
    • Facilitating the participation of family members(s) or significant others to ensure optimal care
    • Providing anticipatory health care, e.g., discussion of current status and risk factors, providing age and sex appropriate education
    • Providing patient education that includes encouraging patients to identify personally important short and longer-term health goals
    • Providing “longitudinal” rather than episodic care for patients of all ages
    • Coordinating the use of other professionals (e.g., physician specialists, physical and occupational therapist, social workers, community resources) to ensure comprehensive patient care

  2. Diagnose and manage common acute and chronic ambulatory problems in a well-reasoned manner, as evidence by:
    • Conducting a focused history, guided by diagnostic hypotheses formulated as the case unfolds
    • Grouping patient data in contrasting categories (e.g., chronic vs. acute, intermittent vs. constant) when refining diagnostic thinking
    • Performing a “thinking” physical examination to rule in or rule out leading diagnostic possibilities
    • Developing a complete problem list
    • Developing an assessment that compares and contrasts diagnostic possibilities and argues for a leading diagnosis
    • Ordering tests and other diagnostic procedures judiciously, with a clearly formulated rationale for each
    • Detailing management plans with defined endpoints for each identified patient problem
    • Writing problem-oriented notes

  3. Recognize and address personal knowledge, skill, and/or reasoning gaps that arise during patient encounters, as evidenced by:
    • An increase over the course of the clerkship in self-assessment and self-directed learning activity
    • Ability to relate results of self-directed learning efforts to future practice
    • Increased valuing of self-assessment and self-directed learning

  4. Behave in a professional and ethical manner, as evidenced by:
    • Dealing honestly with patients and members of the health care team
    • “Taking a stand” and encouraging others to approach medicine with integrity and respect for human dignity
    • Recognizing and addressing ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest in medical practice
    • Being punctual and reliable regarding his/her responsibilities
    • “Going the extra mile” to ensure the optimum possible care for each patient and his/her family
    • Seeking and using constructive criticism
    • Striving to model a healthy lifestyle


Listed below are some common conditions seen in family medicine.  These are provided to elaborate the goals and objectives of the clerkship.  Students should ensure, through clinical experience and self-directed study, that they have a working understanding of how to diagnose and mange these conditions in an ambulatory setting.

Health promotion, disease prevention in all age groups

    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Atherosclerotic disease-peripheral, coronary, cerebral and its sequelae
    • Upper and lower respiratory tract infections
    • Asthma, COPD
    • Substance abuse, including drugs, alcohol and tobacco
    • Musculoskeletal disorders, including low back pain, soft tissue injuries (e.g., sprains, strains, tendinitis), and arthritis (particularly the difference between localized or regional problems like osteoarthritis and systemic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus)
    • Common endocrine disorders, particularly thyroid disease
    • Common dermatologic conditions
    • Headaches, particularly the difference between migraine and tension
    • Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
    • Depression and anxiety
    • Women’s health issues, including contraception
    • Urinary tract infections
    • Abdominal pain and its causes, including gastroenteritis, GERD, and PUD
    • Diarrhea
    • Well-child care
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